moving…

So… I am selling out and moving my blog to cupofpencils.com.  Why?  Because I want to be able to make my blog yellow and to have cute fonts.  And that’s really hard on wordpress.  And really easy on blogger.  I know, that’s kind of lame, but the layout and fonts make me really happy.  I’m going to keep following everyone else’s blog because I’ve become really interested in so many lives (is that creepy?) and feel free to follow my new blog, but I’ve started writing over there and it’s going to stay that way.

Thanks for reading this!

Sweet Minteas: My favorite summer drink


I’d been wanting to write something deep, but I think after my sister’s wedding and my fabulous vacation with A, I need to lay off layering on the sap for awhile.

I want to introduce you to my new favorite summer drink, inspired by, but not quite similar to, the Mintaid drink at Local Foods.  This drink is essentially an Arnold-Palmer with mint leaves and raspberries.  It’s the easiest thing ever and it’s wonderful.  This drink has gone a long way toward curing my cravings for summer beer and mimosas!  I affectionately call them my sweet minteas.

Sweet Minteas Steps:

1. I like to make the drink in a large beverage dispenser, like any of these at Target or anywhere really.  Every place has one of these.

2. Begin by boiling water in whatever water boiler you have.

3. Fill up the beverage container halfway with the water and put tea bags in the water to make tea.  I’m usually boring and stick with classic Lipton’s, because I add raspberries and mint, but if you want to make the drink without raspberries and mint, you could certainly try a more interesting tea.

4. Fill up most of the rest of the way with low-cal lemonade.

5. Add lots of mint leaves and raspberries.

6. Test it out and make sure it isn’t too sour, tangy, anything.  Add other fruit/sugar depending on the taste/calories you want to add.

7. Put it in the fridge to chill.

(8. In my case, transport to pool in cute tumblr).

11 Reasons Why You Are the Boss of Cancer

This is such a hilarious and wonderful wordpress post about cancer that I am giving it an entry of its own.  And probably linking it on facebook.  11 Reasons Why You Are The Boss Of Cancer.  Brilliant.

I hope the blogger checked the box for “this post is super awesome,” even though I have no idea what that box changes.

I’ll just give you a teaser.  Reason #1: Cancer fails to deny its inferiority.  “As a trained journalist, I’m keenly aware of giving the ‘other side’ of a story the right to reply. So I tried contacting cancer through various media in order to give it a chance to deny its inferiority, but it’s never responded. There is therefore no argument against it: you ARE the boss of cancer.”

 

Boring

I was going to write a blog post today about clutter.  Yes, clutter.  I had two articles picked out to link, including one very fancy study from Princeton University about the effects of clutter on your brain and how we all have different clutter-tolerance thresholds.  Yes, I was really going to write a post about clutter.  Then I read this post from a friend who is a blogging pro and I almost felt sad looking at my life and thinking that the most interesting thing I could write about today was clutter.

What happened to my life?  I swear, I used to be interesting.  My life used to interesting; it used to have mystery.  I used to date boys who would cancel for ridiculous reasons.  My friends used to be my greatest support network.  I used to hate people who hurt and used me.  I used to want revenge.  It used to create interesting interactions.  I used to talk to my friends about all of these things and I had close friendships because of it.  I could give great advice.  Now, it’s been so long since I started dating A that I’m having trouble even remembering how different things felt much less understanding how to advise.

I’m married and so there is no drama in my boy life.  Because I’m married, living somewhere new, and mostly have older friends with stable support systems, there’s no dramatic friendship dynamic that comes from needing friends to be support systems.  When I meet new people we do different things together, but we don’t establish crazy bonds because we don’t really experience life together and we don’t have deep vulnerabilities.  Or we do, but we don’t share the burdens the same way we used to.

I think all of this changes when you have kids and you have to figure out how to handle things and how to react to them.  I think you develop deep friendships again bonding over insecurities and instabilities and the pressure.  But, A and I don’t have kids and we probably won’t for awhile.  Hopefully someday, but cancer just complicates everything. In the meantime, every time I send an e-mail about my life, my friends tell me that it sounds great, people have told me that they’re jealous, and yet I just feel lonely and boring.

I don’t have any solutions or ideas for fixes, but at least I didn’t blog about clutter!

Summer Goals

Now that K’s wedding is over and I’m home, I have the entire summer with no major plans, vacations, or interruptions.  This week, my goal is to put my life back together, get unpacked, make up my growing sleep deficit…but after that the summer is wide open and mine for the taking.

I’ve come up with a few random goals to start the list, but I’d love to hear any thoughts anyone else has.  What are your summer goals?  What are your fun hobbies?  What should I get into next?

Here’s my little list so far:

1. Eat healthier, no really.

I’ve had this goal for awhile in theory, but I thought I would be fine if I just ate normal amounts at meals, cooked at home, and avoided too many processed foods and snacks.  That hasn’t been enough for me to have any real results.  It might be enough for most people – – we’re all different – – but I know that I’m working with a low metabolism and am borderline/inching toward a low thyroid disorder.  I had been using the thyroid thing as an excuse for awhile, but I also realized that I think I’m eating pretty healthfully when I’m really not.  I strongly believe in making diet changes slowly and know I’ll never be successful just cutting everything out, so my goal right now is to have lunch just be fruits and vegetables and to try to be more fruit & veggie heavy at dinner.

2. Re-establish/maintain my work-out routine & train for Tour de Cure

Prior to my trip (and being sick just before that), I had gotten into a solid routine of working out almost everyday.  Mondays and Wednesdays I ran, Tuesdays and Thursdays I did hot yoga, Sunday was spin class, and Fridays and Saturdays were either a break or my choice.  Saturdays frequently involved something outside with A and going to hot yoga.  Fridays were frequently breaks or a run.  I want to be close to this routine, but I need to mix things up a little bit in order to get enough outdoor bike rides in to be ready for Tour de Cure in September.  I’ve decided that my Tour de Cure distance goal is 47 miles, so that is going to take some serious training.  I need to establish a solid plan for that.

3. Remove framelessness from the apartment

I have so many things that need frames — law licenses, wedding photos, artwork.  I want to figure out what I want to do with my wedding pictures and finish framing everything that is currently without a frame.

… ? ? ?

My sister’s wedding: a unique authenticity

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This past weekend, my sister, K, & my brother-in-law, G, exchanged vows on a beach beneath a waterfall in Yosemite National Park, which is perhaps the most beautiful place I’ve ever seen.  The wedding weekend began simply, with drinks and an opening barbecue out on the back deck of the Yosemite Bug, a collection of cabin-like rooms about an hour outside of the park.  K spearheaded the effort to decorate the deck with twinkle-lights and table-cloths and it all looked beautiful.

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The barbecue was followed with a good old-fashioned campfire with s’mores and hot chocolate down the hill.  K & G had planned an evening of campfire games, but one of G’s friends grabbed a guitar and some instruments and got the group singing and dancing to “Brown-Eyed Girl,” cheering for more.  We all spent hours dancing and singing around the campfire, which was an experience that took me back to the innocence and plain old fun of being a kid.  This world should probably have more campfires and acoustic guitars.

The next morning we drove to the ceremony at Sentinel Beach in Yosemite Valley for the ceremony.  The ceremony was simple and genuine.  The couple promised to hold each other’s lives in their hands forever.  Their vows came from the heart.  The ceremony background was beautiful, but K looked ever prettier.

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After the couple exchanged vows and kissed, K & G took over.  Realizing they had forgotten to tell the disc jockey to provide the guests with instructions, they skipped any processional they may have had planned (or maybe they planned none) and, to the surprise of everyone there, turned to their family and friends and said, “Okay, so, here’s the deal…”  Hey, the whole married thing finished so dispense with needless formalities.  Time to get the guests up the river and onto rafts.

The wedding guests who didn’t wear their swimsuits to the ceremony changed and loaded into rafts.  K & G continued on, throwing their life vests over the wedding dress and suit, K lugging their raft through the sand and into the water in her white wedges, the hot sun beating overhead.  They seemed so happy, they didn’t even appear to sweat.

 

 

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The raft trip was a relaxing few hours to soak in the beauty of the surroundings, with a stop for bagged lunches in the middle.  For me, the best part of the raft trip may have been watching the shocked-turned-amused-turned-joyous expressions of everyone else in the river or watching alongside the river as they took in the fact that K & G had just gotten married and were, in fact, rafting down the river together in full wedding attire.  Not sure how many random pictures they turned up in!

After rafting, we headed back to the Yosemite bug for the reception.  The reception was a traditional buffet dinner and dance.  All of K & G’s siblings gave well thought-out toasts.  G’s sister and my sister were both adorable, funny, and genuine in their expression of love for K & G.  I did manage to deliver a speech after all of my anxiety about it as discussed here.  But G’s brother gave the best toast I will ever hear at a wedding.  I should have videoed it and if I had it would be a viral youtube sensation.  G’s brother puts my rambling thoughts to shame.  But K & G really aren’t ordinary.  Maybe they are nobel-prize-winner special in their own way.  I couldn’t figure out how to express it, but G’s brother did.  He talked about his parents immigrating to America and how G had to step up and fill out forms for the family.  He mentioned their father passing away when they were in high school.  He thanked G for growing up early and stepping up to be the responsible adult . . . so that he could have a childhood.  He said so many heartfelt things.  He made everyone cry.  And in between that he was hilarious.  He also managed to work in a random chart on cats, funny stats on relationship fights during marriage and his phone number for any single ladies in the audience.  I’m not doing the speech justice, so I’m just going to stop trying to describe it right now, but trust me when I say it was a knock-out and it was that way because he put his heart and soul into it and because K & G lived lives that provided that kind of material to paint onto a canvas.

K & G planned to hike with the wedding guests today, but K suffered a potential finger fracture during intense participation in the Y-M-C-A song (she and a guest made their C’s go in opposite directions) and George was far too exhausted.  “I know, we’re horrible people,” K said in the morning, managing her plate at the buffet line with her home-made splint and feeling awful as they excused themselves from the hike.  Yeah . . .

 

Sterling Winery, Napa Valley

Sterling Winery, Napa Valley

– I’ll update more on our California trip when I’m not out here enjoying it, but we loved Napa yesterday. Neither of us drank too much (#becausecancer) but we loved the views and enjoyed a little wine and cheese.

– I am almost done with my speech for my sister’s wedding. I have something down finally, but it doesn’t quite have enough meaning yet. A says it’s pretty good right now, but needs some more work to be great. This is big news because the first three drafts got only an “OK” rating.

– I was worried about the fact that we didn’t plan tons of activities in advance, but A is much happier this way because I’m stressing about getting from one place to the next. We are definitely relaxed. I wish this week could continue forever!

Memorial Day Weekend

It’s Memorial Day, so it finally feels like summer!  A has been sick all weekend, but I’ve still had a pretty good one.  Saturday, I went to a brunch sponsored by a Meetup group in my area.  I joined Meetup when we moved to Houston six months ago, but had yet to make it to an actual event.  I’m not sure if it’s the fact that we’ve been pretty busy, the nerves, or what exactly, but every time I decided to attend an event, something happened and I ended up not going.  This brunch was really nice, small, fun, good conversation.  I couldn’t figure out how to take the next step toward creating friendships by exchanging contact info. with anyone or inviting anyone to something, but maybe it’ll be easier to go to another event sometime.

Sunday, I went with two friends to place flags on the veterans’ graves at the Houston National Cemetery.  It was hard work and my hands are blistered today, but it’s nothing compared with the sacrifice of all those soldiers.  It was an honor to put flags in their graves and remember them for a few moments.  The end result was beautiful.  After placing flags, I ended up deciding we needed lots of meat, so I went to the store and bought ribs, burgers, hot dogs, and some apples to make an apple pie.  Every now and then, it’s a holiday and you just have to give in and indulge in some good old-fashioned, unhealthy American classics.  To minimize the health effects a little bit, we ate the meaty meal at lunch and I had a light dinner followed by hot yoga.

I’m not entirely sure what today will hold.  I was thinking of going down to the pool, but it’s looks a little cloudy out.  I’ll also need to pick between spin class, hot yoga, and going for a run.  As I’ve been recovering from being sick and adjusting to the Houston heat, my running has taken a sharp downward turn.  I hadn’t felt able to work out for awhile, but now that I was able to do hot yoga yesterday, I’m well enough now that I can’t blame any shortcomings on being sick.  I’ll have to see how things go today!  I also need to plan the details for our trip out to California next week for my sister’s wedding.  We’re flying into SF and spending two days in SF, one day in Napa, two days in Santa Cruz and then heading to Yosemite National Park for the wedding.  We have booked our hotels but basically nothing else.  I love planning trips, so I’m not sure why I can’t seem to get myself to nail down any details for this one.  It’s been a struggle though.  If there are any Californians out there, let me know where we should eat!

I hope everyone had a beautiful weekend & that summer is off to a fabulous start.

P.S. Rainy holidays are best for climbing into bed and snuggling under the covers with your husband.

P.P.S. And sales.  I’ve resisted so far, but  the Nordstrom sale is great.

 

Dressing up ordinary love: contemplating the right speech for my sister’s wedding

My sister’s wedding is coming up very soon and I need to prepare a bridesmaid speech.  She and I are so different that it makes the task hard.  My life is an open book.  K’s life, well, it’s not that it’s a secret, but just that she doesn’t think many things are worthy of sharing.  Not that she wouldn’t share them, she just doesn’t think they’re big.

When she applied to college, she had a horrible time writing essays about herself that were more than a few sentences.  This, even though she had won numerous awards in the band, drama, tennis, and forensics.  This, even though she blew our physics teacher’s mind by being the first student in our entire school district to score a 5 on the AP Physics test.  He had her autograph her score report and it was still hanging in the physics room years later.  She was interviewed by the newspaper once, about her academic achievement.  They asked her to attribute her success to something.  She stared at them blankly before finally suggesting that she probably had decent genes.  She is brilliant and a hard worker who distinguishes herself, but she’s also everyone’s favorite because it’s like she doesn’t realize that she’s brilliant or that she’s worked hard.

A and I videochat with her and her fiance every Monday night.  But, really, A and I talk to ourselves and try to draw them out.  After having worked to cultivate this skill for awhile, we have varying degrees of success.  Unlike K, I am overjoyed whenever I do anything well.  Or, adequately, honestly.  I continually remind myself of my achievements, turning them over in my mind, until I am finally satisfied.  My excitement oozes and, although this certainly lacks virtue, I am jabbering a million miles an hour on an excited call to my parents.  Or, for example, posting pictures of my Texas-sized law license to my blog.  K definitely does not.  And her fiance is modest as well.

But, it’s not just success that K deprives of an oozing flourish.  As I look at her wedding website, I notice the description of the proposal.  “On our third anniversary, we decided to go out to dinner.  [Fiance] decided that he was going to propose . . . He set up a camera tripod and focused the camera on where he thought that proposal would take place.  During lunch, he went out and bought batteries for the camera remote so that he could take pictures of the proposal… [Fiance] dropped K off at her car and zoomed home.  He wanted to check the camera exposure now that it was dark, but he got stuck at a light.”  Spoiler alert, I guess he didn’t quite get home in time to check the camera exposure.

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Perfect, adorable proposal in their backyard.  Looks like the batteries and camera exposure cooperated.

 

This description is just like K and her fiance.  It really does give you all the details, but it deprives them of the pageantry.  This is your wedding website description.  This is the place where you describe the cute, sappy brilliance and specialness of your love and exaggerate it to show off to the rest of the planet.  Amiright?  This is where you post pictures, holding hands and walking off in the sunset, past a fence that conveniently has your wedding date splattered in white paint.  Instead, K is talking about buying batteries over lunch and camera exposure.  Can you imagine an “every kiss begins with Kay” television commercial of this proposal description?  No, you can’t.  Because, don’t you know that when you write a proposal section on your wedding website or write a college admissions essay you’re supposed to brag?  And if you did brag, in your proposal, and your college admissions essay, and throughout your life, then I could easily write a speech that caters to whatever you bragged about and we’d all be happy.

Of course, we’d all probably be lying to some extent.  And K is a realist.  She would be confused about that last paragraph that I wrote.  “Why would you be exaggerating and bragging if you’re happy?” she’d respond.  Because, K, PINTEREST.  But, no.  Her fiance’s proposal was special because of all the ways he planned the everyday details, because he went out to buy batteries over lunch to make it work, because he cared about the camera exposure, because those are the things you care about in real life where traffic is bad and it takes 90 minutes to get to the restaurant because you live in Los Angeles.  Because in real life a proposal is great because you love the person and you’re deciding to spend your life together and it’s official, even though it really isn’t that different than any other day because you already knew all of those things.  But, how do you write that on a wedding website?  And how do you put that into a speech?

I do really think K is special.  And I have some things to back that up.  Like, the airplane she built she was in school at MIT that won an award.  But, at the same time, even if she had won a nobel prize already, so have a lot of people.  And maybe she’s right that it’s kind of crazy to think that our stories or our love so supremely special.  Or that we actually make them any more special by exaggerating their significance in order to convey to people the significance of our stories to us.  In reality, by doing that, we’re really suggesting an unhappiness with what we have.  We’re making it less special.

There are lots of people with Ks for sisters and a lot of them have special fiances.  If we’re being honest, maybe K and her fiance don’t have a love that is that different from everyone else’s.  And why should that matter?  Most people are happy.  Maybe trying to pretend that there is something extraordinary to say actually diminishes the wonderfulness of the ordinary that is there.  Why does it need to be anything more than ordinary?  Why do I have this need to convey to everyone how extraordinary I think K and her fiance are?  After all, isn’t there something a bit dishonest in trying to explain that any of us are really that more extraordinary than anyone else.

But, K and her fiance are extraordinary to me.  Just because they are who they are.  And it’s my speech.  So, how to describe that?

 

Dblogweek reflection

Last day linking up for diabetes blog week.  Today, the topic is supposed to be a reflection on the week, sharing our new favorite things we discovered.  I only discovered the host blog and the link up on Friday, so I haven’t had much time to surf through everyone’s posts, although I plan to go back and read all of them as I get the chance.  Given that I discovered all of this so late into the game, I haven’t had the chance to notice as much as I’d like.  I think for me the neatest thing was just discovering all the other diabetic bloggers out there.  This disease is isolating.  Blogging is actually kind of isolating too when you first start.  How do you find other people out there that seem like real people?  So many of the blogs I come across randomly are pretty weird blogs or business blogs, and all they’re trying to do is teach you how to make money from your blog.  It’s been so nice just to discover all these other blogs out there written by real folks about their experiences.  I can’t wait to keep reading.

Unrelated to diabetes blog week, I’m going to start posting some of my sugar waves and how I corrected for abnormal situations.  The interesting thing about these sugar-waves for non-diabetics is that they give you a glimpse of how a body responds to different foods.  The more insulin it takes a diabetic to get rid of the sugar in the bloodstream from a particular food, the more insulin it’s going to take a normal person.  The more insulin something takes, the more energy is being stored into your cells, so it’s a pretty good approximation for how different foods are affecting your body apart from their calorie indication.